All posts tagged: Church

Police set up barricades around Canadian church

According to a report on The Post Millennial, early this morning, (Wednesday, April 7, 2021), police set up barricades around GraceLife Church in Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada in what some believe is an attempt to prevent parishioners from attending services at the church.

Over 70 Canadian churches will defiantly hold Easter services

LifeSite News is reporting that nearly 80 Canadian churches have publicly stated they will be holding Easter services this weekend in defiance of government lockdowns. LifeSite News reports: April 1, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — The threat of fines and possible imprisonment will not deter over 70 Christian churches in Canada from defying COVID lockdowns and holding religious services on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The churches have vowed to open for Easter services “to stand together in unity and to oppose further lockdowns.” All churches involved have signed on to Liberty Coalition Canada’s (LCC) “We Will Gather Easter 2021” initiative. To date, eight Canadian provinces are represented: Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. READ: Over 70 Canadian churches vow to defy lockdowns, will fully open for Easter services Click here to find out if a church in your community will be holding services. The simple fact is, Canada can not continue is this lockdown indefinitely. COVID is not going to go away, and we have to learn to live with …

Smaller, but stronger?

To say that the pandemic lockdowns have been difficult for the church would be an understatement, but a recent poll by Lifeway of regular protestant church attenders reveals that 68% of the people surveyed said that they plan to return to church with the same regularity they had in the past. However, what is concerning 9% stated they will attend less if at all. And according to Lifeway, there was evidence of this in January this year when nearly two thirds of the churches that reopened reported that they were running 70% below their normal attendance. Some believe this happened because people are still fearful of returning to public gatherings, and those numbers will increase once the pandemic is behind them. And while those number suggest that there is room for concern, the Lifeway poll also revealed that nearly a quarter (23%) of those surveyed planned to increase their church attendance. Significantly, the age group most likely to do this were those between the ages of 18 to 29, where 43% stated they were planning …

Video: Interview with wife of jailed Canadian pastor

James Coates, pastor of GraceLife Church in Edmonton, Alberta Canada was arrested for violating the province’s lockdown orders and holding church services. He has not been released from jail because he refuses to abide by the court’s bail conditions. In an interview with Faytene Grasseschi, Pastor Coate’s wife, Erin, explains the church’s side of the story.

Bomb squad disarms suspicious package in front of church

The bomb squad in Butler County, Ohio was called in after someone reported a mysterious duffel bag in front of a church. We have seen a lot of changes in society over the past couple of decades, and there are reasons to be concerned when this happens. Fortunately, it was a false alarm unless you consider a mother cat named Sprinkles and her six, one-day old, kittens dangerous.

300 million Christians in China by 2030?

In an interview with the Christian Post, Dr. Ron Boyd-MacMillan, who serves as Director of Strategic Research with Open Doors, stated based on current growth trends there will be over 300 million Christian believers in that communist country by 2030. In 2019, China’s population was reported to be 1.4 billion people. He believes this rapid growth is behind the Chinese Communist Party’s attempt to crack down on Christianity in that country. Boyd-MacMillan told Christian Post: “And if it grows at the rate that it has done since 1980, and that’s about between 7 [percent] and 8 percent a year, then you’re looking at a group of people that will be 300 million strong, nearly by 2030. And, you know, the Chinese leadership, they really do long term planning, I mean, their economic plan goes to 2049, so this bothers them. Because I think if the Church continues to grow like that, then they’ll have to share power.” The Communist regime’s persecution of believers is three-fold. First it is employing an outward attack using its Social …

Are micro churches, the church of the future?

The COVID lockdowns has caused some church leaders to take a second look at their church structures. Typically, most churches have meetings on Sunday morning in a larger building with one main pastor/teacher leading the service. But the lockdowns are challenging that structure as governments are fining, and in some instances even threatening jail time, if churches continue meeting on Sunday morning. With the lockdowns continuing into 2021, and in some instances with harsher restrictions that 2020, some churches are adapting. There is a new trend emerging called micro churches involving smaller gatherings of between 10 and 40 people. They typically meet in homes or a neutral setting such as coffee shops, and they are fully functioning churches. Many larger congregations already utilize house churches that meet during the week in addition to the main Sunday morning service. These additional meetings are often poorly attended, because if busy, people typically cut out the house church meeting since it is not considered the “church’s main service.” But some are wondering if these smaller groups should be …

Tens of thousands of Chinese pastors in hiding, report

According to a report by Asia Harvest, tens of thousands of Chinese pastors have gone into hiding in China to avoid persecution by the tyrannical Communist regime. Part of this includes removing themselves from the internet by disconnecting their cell phones and computers. As well, people are required to have a government-issued identity card with them at all times. However, it also contains a chip that gives the government limited ability to track people, so some pastors have also found ways to disable that chip. The Christian Post explains: “Each person in China must have an ID card. It is impossible for a person to catch a flight or train, open a bank account, get a job, or rent an apartment without using their card. Each ID card contains a computer chip which is also used to track people’s movements,” the [Asia Harvest] newsletter added. Yet, despite this the church in China, that is apparently heading back underground under its current tyrant, Xi Jinping, has doing remarkably well as Christian Post adds: Despite persecution, Christianity …

Recent Gallup Poll shows why churches are essential

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis just announced that churches were essential and removed the state’s attendance caps that restricted religious services. In part, Polis was responding to Liberty Counsel’s recent legal victories where courts ruled that US states can not violate religious freedoms guaranteed in the American Constitution by restricting church services in the name of COVID. And a recent poll by Gallup concurs that churches are indeed essential services. The survey, conducted between Nov 5 and 19, revealed that people over the age of 18 who attended religious services were experiencing better mental health than those who weren’t. In the 2020 pandemic year, 46% of people who attended church services reported excellent health and surprisingly this was even higher than the 2019 pre-pandemic years when 42% in the same group reported excellent mental health. Gallup also noted that those who regularly attended religious services was the only demographic that showed an increase in those claiming excellent mental health over the previous year. For Americans as a whole, the Gallup poll revealed only 34% described their …

Healing the racial divide: A black and white congregation merge

An interesting thing happened in Salisbury, North Carolina when two churches decided to merge. Now, there is nothing particularly unusual about churches merging, because I was even part one several years back. But this was a bit different because it involved the merging of a black church pastored by a young black man, Derek Hawkins, and a predominantly white mega church pastored by Jay Stewart. And in the light of the racial divisions appearing in America’s social fabric, this may have more significance than we realize as both pastors felt they were led by the Holy Spirit to do this. In an interview with the Christian Post (CP), Hawkins said the first step to the unlikely merger started in 2014, when he took his daughter to have her hair done and came across a sign for a downtown extension of Stewart’s mega church, The Refuge. This led to Derek attending a service and eventually asking the older middle-aged Stewart to take on a mentoring role as Derek was preparing to pastor a church in nearby …

Swiss court declares worship a human right and reverses the government’s ban on church services

In the midst of the COVID-1984 lockdown, many governments have been particularly keen on trying to stop Church services under the guise of stopping COVID. However, the Catholic News Agency is reporting that one of the most restrictive bans has come to an abrupt end in the Canton of Geneva in Switzerland when a judge ruled that the COVID-1984 ban on church services was unconstitutional. The government ban had stopped all church services and allowed only limited attendance at funerals and weddings. Several Christians in the Canton challenged the ban arguing it impinged on their religious freedom. The judge gave a temporary restraining order allowing services to restart until the case was heard at a later date. The judge noted the state would probably lose the case because its ban violated the Swiss constitution that guarantees freedom of worship. Switzerland has 26 Cantons, and the judge’s ruling means that services are allowed to restart in Switzerland’s capital city, Geneva. Switzerland has the reputation of supposedly being the “human rights capital of the world” but its …

The Covid Crisis: Are you ready for the virtual God?

We are living in strange times, and this is a very strange year. I don’t want to criticize the authorities who must make hard choices, but some restrictions are strange. Where I live, the government and the medical authorities are being cautious with social restrictions. We are mostly warned to be careful, and given good advice. I haven’t heard about fines or arrests for breaking the rules. My work, for the government, is high-risk, and I have a generous supply of spray cleaner and hand disinfectant. I also have training on how to use the cleaners and stay safe. A neighbor goes to a church near us and they are probably still refusing to wear masks in their services. No one is talking about this in the news, my neighbor told me when I met him in the back alley. Do you believe in God? If you are a believer, what tells you to believe? What are the signals that you need? Do you attend a church or a temple, a mosque or a synagogue, …

Have COVID lockdowns turned into COVID-1984 tyranny?

Recently, Dr. Dennis Jackman, a physician and pastor of United Methodist Church in Pasadena, Maryland was threatened with a $5,000 fine, jail time and a complete shut down of the church because he was not wearing a mask while ALONE in his church. I think that needs to be repeated he was all by himself in the church when an inspector with the local health authority showed up after receiving a tip off from a snitch that “there might be somebody here without a mask on.” Maryland has been actively promoting its snitch line where citizens can turn in their enemies, family, friends and neighbours for real or imagined violations of the state’s COVID lockdown. According to the Christian Post, Jackman was in his office when he heard someone trying to open the church’s locked front doors. He wasn’t expecting anyone so Jackman decided to check what was going on. When he opened the door and saw someone standing there, Jackman returned to his desk and got his mask. But because he wasn’t wearing a …

Canadian RCMP block a drive-in church service

RCMP in the town of Steinbach, Manitoba blocked people from attending a drive-in church service this past Sunday, where people would remain in their cars and listen to a service being broadcast by a shortwave FM. Apparently, Manitoba’s health officials are concerned that people listening to a service in their cars with the windows rolled up could transfer COVID to neighbouring vehicles. Like they say, we must trust the science.

Growing support of civil disobedience for church services: Poll

According to a recent poll conducted by Public Religion Research Institute, and Ryan Burge, an Eastern Illinois University professor, there is a growing support for churches to defy the COVID-1984 lockdowns and start holding church services. But here is what is really bizarre. The poll showed that while over 60% of Americans were fine with church’s defying COVID0-1984 lockdowns, only 34% of church attenders supported such acts of civil disobedience.

US Supreme Court blocks Cuomo’s church lockdown

New York’s Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo is probably most famous for sending COVID patients to nursing homes and those most vulnerable to the virus. So, when Gov. Cuomo recently implemented COVID-1984 restrictions limiting church attendance in certain areas of the state to 10 or 25, a Catholic Church and two Jewish synagogues challenged Cuomo in court.

Francis Chan: The pandemic may be good for the church

The recent COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown has resulted in one of the most difficult times for the church in North America. Experts are warning that there is a possibility that 20% of the churches many not even make it. Churches and believers in California face severe fines, and even jail, if they resume services during the lock down. READ: ‘We Are Not Closing,’ Pastor Declares after County Fines Church $52,750 for Worship Services Though many consider these to be dark days for the church, Frances Chan says these difficult times may in fact be a good thing for the North American church. Chan was the former lead pastor and founder of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California. He has since left the church and is ministering in the slums of Hong Kong, where his mother once ministered. At Q Sessions, that featured several Christian leaders discussing the current pandemic crisis including attacks on religious liberties, Chan had this to say about what churches are facing today: “When you look at the places where there …

The nerd rapture: Are we in a religious revolution?

One rule about religion is that things change when communication changes. The first Christians spoke and wrote on scrolls. Things changed with bound books, and then printing presses, which produced the Protestant Reformation. Radio, and television, and now the Internet have radically changed human communication, and we can expect big changes in the way people find God. Some people call this the nerd rapture. We are connected by the Web, and this year we are isolated by a virus pandemic. Expect changes. In the time of scrolls and preachers, Jesus told His followers to communicate: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16: 15 and 16) That is easier to do that now, than any time in history. The speaker on the TEDx video predicts a religious revolution based on communication. He mixes in his own advice, but he is correct with his basic prediction.

Orthodox Rituals in a Changing World: How do believers cope?

What we do might have to change, for health reasons. Belief is important to any Christian, but many struggle to adapt their practices. Eastern Orthodox Christians have many rituals, practices that are sacred to them, but they also have a health emergency. This new world can bring us all back to the starting place; “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) We might laugh as the priest in a country area, but he is trying to keep his faith in challenging times. On a larger scale, many churches are struggling to adapt to a world-changing crisis.

Preparing for the end times

When the warden for All Saints’ Radford church in Nottinghamshire showed up at the church on Sunday, July 26, 2020, Lorraine Smedley discovered that vandals had painted upside down crosses and swastikas on the church building. The Nottinghamshire police referred to it as a “hate crime.” Across the English Channel in France, reports indicate the number of attacks against Christian churches in that country has increased nearly 300% in just 12 years according to the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe (OIDACE), a Venice-based organization. OIDACE reports that in 2018, the French government officially stated that there were 275 attacks, fires and vandalism, against churches in that county. That number had climbed to 1,052 attacks by 2019, representing a 285% increase. Recently, there was an arson attack on a 500-year-old Cathedral in Nantes, France on July 18, 2020. Unfortunately, this is only the tip of the iceberg because these simply represent threats and attacks against physical structures. In 2018, the French government reported that there were 2,000 hate crimes against Christians. Though …

Several churches vandalized over the past week

According to an article on Fox News, several churches across the US were attacked in the last week and authorities are wondering if this is related to the recent protests. Fox News writes: A slew of Catholic churches from Florida to California were burned and vandalized over the weekend as police continue to investigate whether or not they are connected to protests targeting symbols and statues. Following George Floyd’s police-related death in May, Black Lives Matter leaders and protesters called for the toppling of statues, from Confederate symbols to former U.S. presidents and abolitionists. Activist Shaun King called for all images depicting Jesus as a “White European” and his mother to be torn down because they’re forms of “White supremacy” and “racist propaganda.” The list included:  A man drove his car into Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Florida during a morning service. He then got out of the car poured gasoline and set fire to the church while people were inside. Fortunately, no one was hurt. The man allegedly suffered from schizophrenia. The 249-year-old San Gabriel church in Los Angeles, California also had a major fire. The church …

Religions: Who has the money?

Any time you want to offend people and start an argument, talk about religion and money. Tithing, or regular giving is also a good spark. I believe that giving regularly leads us to manage all of our money carefully; counting is accounting. But who has the most money? Atheists and Agnostics are near the top, and among religions, Jews, Hindus, and Episcopalians (Anglicans). Mormons are average, Jehovah’s Witnesses are below, and historically black groups are poor. Managing what we have, much or little, is a project for everyone, and it’s a lesson some haven’t learned. Jesus told us about a disorganized man “This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.” (Luke 14:30) READ: You’ll Be Surprised at Which Religions Have the Most Members with $100K+ Incomes

Good News in a Pandemic

Sometimes people just act out what they are. A group of Christians noticed that people were hungry in their community, so they organized a food distribution program. The Corona virus pandemic is scaring us all, and it keeps us isolated from our neighbors. Those Christians acted out and gave food to the neighbors, because those neighbors were hungry. I don’t know them but I guess it just seemed like simple math. People like this deserve our respect. The true Christian Church is not a charity, it’s a home for recovering sinners. When we get a new life from God, with a new perspective, good things just naturally happen. READ: Local church feeds 200 people impacted by pandemic

Government’s latest COVID-19 conspiracy theory

Apparently, some governments believe COVID-19 can be transmitted through car exhaust. When a small church in Greenville, Mississippi decided to hold a drive-in church service, where people stayed in their cars and listened to the service in the parking lot through low-frequency FM, the mayor ordered 20 police officers to storm the church and stop this dangerous gathering. Since the parishioners were not getting out of their vehicles, are we to presume these people were breaking the law because their cars were not wearing masks? READ: Police Officers Storm Mississippi Church for Hosting Drive-In Services